insights, ironies and idiosyncrasies in communication and design

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Monday, 16 June 2008

Canon can do.


In most new markets these days brand ambassadors are citizens who are paid to talk up a product or service openly and honestly or otherwise, not overpaid starlets who receive vast sums of cash to be associated with the brand – though still in some parts of the world, where fame is everything, celebrity endorsement is thriving more than ever.

At the age of seven years old I wasn't taken in by Steve Davis' endorsement of a reduced size snooker table in the Argos catalogue. I wasn't particularly marketing literate at that age – I  just didn't believe that Davis actually practised on a three foot table in preparation for the Embassy World Championship final, or even that his son would have unwrapped a table anything like as small as that on Christmas morning either. And even if this lack of authenticity largely worked as part of the slick overkill of the 80s, I find it hard to believe that there's currency in such flagrant endorsements in the marketing-savvy Noughties.

Currency there might not be much of, but amusement there is plenty. And what's particularly risible about all of this is how the gulf between market leaders and wannabees is exaggerated by the status of their ambassadors, with the smaller brands simply failing to attract anyone of any fame as these stand ups from Bangkok's IT mall Fortune Town show. If you're Canon you can do (pun intended), but if you're the ominously titled Asus you're stuffed. Claim all you want about being "number one in quality and services" but when the only ambassador you can attract is some spotty orphan in a tartan dress no one's going to have any of it. The same can be said about the no name printer ink girl – she's B-list pantomime circuit material at best.

But perhaps the strategy adopted by these challenger brands in the Tiger economies of Southeast Asia sidesteps fame altogether in favour of something much bigger and ultimately more persuasive, the oldest marketing tool in the box – sex. And if that is the case, one can only assume that with the broad range of ambassadors being employed (in places like Fortune Town), marketeers are spreading the net very wide indeed, attempting to appeal (worryingly so in some cases) to a diverse (read: dubious) audience with a range of tastes.

1 comment:

Charles Frith said...

We had hours of fun on one of those Steve Davis mini tables. But it wasn't snooker. More like table marbles.